LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kaitlynn Higgins was back in court Thursday for the murder of her 10-year-old son.
Higgins admitted to cutting out Kyan Higgin Jr.'s tongue, shooting him, and placing his body in the trunk of her car. Neighbors say they also witnessed Higgins abuse her family dog several times before Kyan's murder.
Since his death, city leaders and advocates have tried to break the cycle of abuse between animals and humans.
"I hope that victims like Kyan Higgins Jr. get help at the time they need the help, not when they're past all efforts for help," retired Louisville Metro Police Lieutenant Joye Keeley said.
Keeley says she pushed for Jefferson County's "link" ordinance. The legislation requires officers to go through training that helps identify multi-abuse households.
She says LMPD hasn't started training since Metro Council members passed it in 2021. The goal is to stop people when they first show signs of abuse.
“We need to try to help victims as much as we can. And this is one way of doing it,” Keeley said.
According to Keeley, more than 30% of animal abuse cases are connected to crimes against adults and children. She says if Kentucky had more link laws, more lives would be saved.
"We've been working for years to get these laws passed in Kentucky for years," she said. "And it shouldn't take the death of a child to cause that to happen. This has been globally investigated, and researched, and published for over 40 years. This is long overdue and it needs to be spread out across the entire state.”
Keeley also hopes to change the ordinance to include Metro Safe. She says employees need to know the right questions to ask when answering a call.